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New Android tablets for education introduced by Intel

TabletsNews
by Damon Poeter, 14 Aug 2013News
New Android tablets for education introduced by Intel

Intel has introduced a pair of educational, Android-based tablet designs which now appear on its website alongside the chip giant's older Classmate-branded netbooks and hybrids running Windows and Linux.

IDG News spotted the new slates on Intel's site last week and the company officially introduced its Intel Educational Tablets this week.

"Intel remains committed to helping teachers and students achieve better results through the development of complete solutions that span the hardware, software, and digital content required for a 21st-century learning experience. The tablet we are introducing is one additional step in a 10 year journey," John Galvin, vice president of Intel's Sales and Marketing Group and general manager of Intel Education, said in a statement.

The new tablets won't be branded as part of Intel's Classmate line of products, the last major update to which came in early 2012. Instead, since they are reference designs rather than final products, Intel's system builder partners using the combination hardware-and-software platform will brand their own devices themselves, an Intel spokesperson said.

Intel didn't offer any speculative pricing for such products, but the company's Classmate products are sold at prices intended to be low enough to be affordable for schools, educators, and students, and often subsidised to bring prices even lower for end-users.

The 10in Intel Educational Tablet design runs Android 4.0 Jelly Bean, features a 1,280 x 800 resolution LCD display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, is powered by Intel's 1.6GHz Atom Z2460 chip with 1GB of DDR2 RAM, and promises more than 6.5 hours of battery life.

The larger slate also has a snap-on magnification lens which "supports inquiry-based learning with close-up views" and a plug-in thermal probe which "expands the type of experimentation and exploration possible" with the device, according to Intel.

The 7in device runs Android 4.1, sports a 1,024 x 600 resolution LCD display with a 16:9 aspect ratio, has Intel's 1.2GHz Atom Z2420 chip with 1GB of DDR2 RAM, and has an 8-hour battery.

Both tablet platforms come loaded with Intel's Education Software package, have a 0.3-megapixel front-facing camera and a 2-megapixel rear-facing camera, and feature integrated speakers and microphone. Intel's guidelines call for a capacitive stylus to be bundled with the 10in tablet, while the stylus is optional with the smaller device.

Intel's Classmate products emerged from its World Ahead Program, launched in 2006. Both Intel and Microsoft at times feuded with the not-for-profit One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative during the latter years of last decade, clashing over the best strategy for getting PCs into the hands of underprivileged students.

But as Wintel-powered netbooks faded as a product category with the rise of smaller, more mobile computing devices using ARM-based chips and running non-Windows operating systems, the Classmate and OLPC projects appeared to lose steam.

Now Intel looks to be rekindling its Classmate ambitions, even if its new tablet designs won't be labelled as such.

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